Behind the Brand: Malabrigo Yarn
We are all presumably familiar with yarn, regardless of whether we knit or not. It will be either a textile that is natural or synthetic fibers. These fibers are then spun into layers of strands with varying thickness. The yarn’s thickness is a vital component that has a very big impact, not just on the yarn itself, but also the drape of the fabric or the stitches’ definition. Nevertheless, the nature of yarn is still much more essential than its thickness because it directly affects how a yarn would feel and how it would behave under certain circumstances.
There are lots of types of yarn, but we are going to dwell on a well-known yarn brand which has drastically made a positive change in the yarn market, the renowned Malabrigo yarn.
How it Started
Back then, Malabrigo is still fairly new in the yarn business but now it has already stormed the world of knitting and crocheting. The yarn business started back in the country of Uruguay, in Montevideo. It is a family-owned business and was founded in 2005 when, in their kitchen home, Antonio Gonzalez-Arnao started to dye yarn. In under a year, Tobias Feder, the business partner of Antonio, began searching for their own market. They started to bring in those hand-dyed merino singles yarn which is worsted-weight to Europe and North America. Truth be told, ten years ago, these hand-dyed yarns were not a highly valued characteristic of a yarn.
Also, a part of the Malabrigo history, the company reached out to the fiber society to ask for designs that can exhibit the yarn bases of the company. Until now, on the Malabrigo “Quickies” website, they still had continued featuring designers. These designers still preserve their design right whilst also being endorsed on the website of Malabrigo.
Presently, knitter and crocheters all over the world are very familiar with the well-known and highly regarded business of Malabrigo. It is among one of the few businesses that have successfully executed a considerably massive amount of handy-dyeing which is something only commonly done by those companies which operate independently and single-handedly.
The Basics of Yarn and Hand-Dyeing
For those people who are not familiar or who are still new in the dying and yarn world, let us lay down the foundation of how such yarn skeins came to be. Yarn is created from fibers spun together into a resilient strand that can be used to knit, crochet, or weave. While wool is considered by far the perfect typical fiber – and it is even more excellently-represented in the hand-coloring department due to its unique color-absorption characteristic, yarn is also produced from a diverse array of animal fibers (llamas or angoras), plants (cotton or linen) and also synthetics (acrylic).
Normally, those white or bleached fibers are spun together into what is known as yarn base which is dye-ready. A yarn which commercially dyed is usually dyed on a large scale, and this kind of yarns are best known for their color consistency attained through the different processes it went through.
A yarn which is hand-dyed often uses various dyes or it is dipped multiple times in the pot. This hands-on and tedious process leads to colors with exceptional depth and dramatic variation and intensity of colors. A different name used to classify this process is called “Kettle-dyed” yarn since these yarns are generally dyed in a gigantic kettle.
To hand-dye massive quantities of yarn is hard to work. Skeins must be placed into boiling hot water to obtain the rich, exquisite tonal colors and even when it still wet and heavy, picked up, dried and then skeined. It would then be twisted into the gorgeous bundle that can be seen in stores. Everything about it is made by hand.
All About the Malabrigo Yarn
It is no wonder, given the complexity of hand-dyeing, that only a few companies can pull off manufacturing large quantities of these labor-intensive yarns. And it is not surprising that such yarns demand a higher price tag than those yarns made commercially. Hand-dyed yarns are primarily intended for high-quality yarn bases due to the cost of labor involved making it. Other companies such as Madelintosh and Lorna’s Laces also generate large scale hand-dyed yarns.
An Uruguayan sheep, well-known for their soft and high-quality wool is where all the Malabrigo yarns come from. Because of the climate of Uruguay, as well as it’s impressive pasture land, it is very favorable to rear sheep in their country. Malabrigo gets the wool from a free-range sheep, which are herded on Uruguay’s luscious pastureland in a conventional way. They are not practicing mulesing which is quite a questionable procedure of cutting the skin of sheep to deter infestation of flies.
There are only a number of international yarn businesses based in Uruguay, even though the country is known for its rich wool culture. It is because the amount of resources needed to process and complying with the country laws and regulatory requirements already eats up a large amount of money to start the yarn business. Additionally, creating and maintaining a solid network of local providers that can regularly deliver consistent and high-quality materials is already a big challenge which is not for the fainthearted. All of the fibers used in a Malabrigo yarn comes from various farms, including those mills that can spin bases which are generally used when it comes to dyeing the fibers.
Additionally, Malabrigo is environmentally friendly and is continuing to work to leave mother earth with far less carbon footprint. They are also using a flat-plate thermal heating system that utilizes that sun’s power to heat the water storage tanks used to process the various yarns. They also made a pledge to follow the standards of manufacturing set by Oeko-Tex. These standards can guarantee that the yarn is free and safe from different harmful elements that are frequently found during production. Malabrigo is trying to make use as few chemicals as it would be possible and as little water as necessary.